COLUMN: Encouraging signs as Town pass two very different tests
Chesterfield's pre-season schedule has now thrown up two very different kind of tests and they've passed them both.
Against the trio of non-league clubs it was all about dominating possession, creating chances and standing up to a phyiscal challenge.
They did that, with aplomb, scoring four in each game, all the while finding their legs.
At Buxton, in particular, they had to deal with a fiesty opposition and stood up well.
It was refreshing to see a few tempers fray, a display that the fixture meant something - a far cry from a kickabout with Premier League U23s.
On Tuesday night at Complexo Desportivo in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal, they faced something very different altogther.
Benfica B weren’t going to fly into tackles and weren’t going to be content for Town to have the lion’s share of possession.
It took a little adjustment, in both halves, but the two sides that Gary Caldwell put out more than coped with the Portuguese side’s poise.
The Spireites, once settled, did their fair share of attacking - particularly in the latter stages of the first half.
Defensively they were pretty sound throughout the 0-0 stalemate, bar an early error that went unpunished.
The back line has a nice balance to it.
Ian Evatt is seeing a lot of the football and looking quite pleased about that, while Scott Wiseman will also provide size, pace and intelligence.
Sam Hird remains a class act, Laurence Maguire continues to emerge as a real talent, Brad Barry is quick and strong and Jerome Binnom-Williams is arguably the standout performer thus far.
He’s a monster who can really motor up and down the left flank, puts in decent crosses and can beat opponents with skill or sheer brute force.
The midfield really fought to assert themselves against Benfica and Jak McCourt put in the kind of challenge Town fans will be hoping to see on a regular basis – it was clean, hard and had the Portuguese boys in the stand gasping.
Another midfielder might just complete this squad because up top, Town look a handful.
Chris O’Grady gave Benfica B problems and linked up very well with Gozie Ugwu.
Kristian Dennstill knows where the net is, Delial Brewster is raw but shows potential and Ricky German, if he wants to, can really push the aforementioned strikers for a place in the squad.
The real tests lie ahead but the signs, so far, are quite encouraging.